Floods threaten Pakistan heritage sites
August 16, 2010
Pakistan’s devastating floods are now threatening ancient archeological sites, on top of leaving millions of people dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, an antiquities official said on Monday.
Pakistan has been ravaged by nearly three weeks of monsoon rains. Flooding has affected one-fifth of the country and hit up to 20 million people, destroying crops, infrastructure, towns and villages.
Flood waters in the southern province of Sindh have inundated hundreds of villages and also threaten its cultural heritage.
“There is danger to the 5000-year-old Moenjodaro and Aamri archeological sites,” said Karim Lashari, chief of the provincial antiquities department.
Moenjodaro is on UNESCO’s list of the world heritage sites. Its website says the city was built of unbaked brick in the third millennium BC and provides evidence of an early system of town planning.
Aamri, in the Dadu district of Sindh, has been declared a Pakistani national heritage site.
“Aamri is exposed to greater danger because the river Indus flows along this ancient town. There is also a major canal and any overflow of water there would submerge this town,” he said.
“There is already pressure on its banks and danger is severe.”
Pakistan is facing its worst floods for 80 years. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday visited scenes of the devastation and urged the world to speed up relief efforts.
The United Nations has launched an aid appeal for $US460 million ($A515.0 million), but charities say the response has been sluggish.